Foresight refers to a range of practices, methods, tools and techniques that help organisations actively explore, shape and manage the future. This includes understanding key drivers of change, possible projections into the future, and the implications of change on specific businesses, projects or contexts.
Foresight activities are not intended to predict the future with complete accuracy. Rather, they enable practitioners to explore plausible futures (plural), informed by current trends and trajectories as well as emergent signals of change. Foresight can be applied to a broad range of business contexts. These include strategy, risk and innovation processes as well as the delivery of marketing, design and engineering projects. All of these benefit from a critical exploration of the future. The aim is to ensure that future opportunities are maximised and that risks are minimised. Foresight is also used for organisational change, corporate strategy and in the early stages of assessing financial investments (e.g. in start-ups) and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
This publication provides an introduction to the practice of foresight, including key principles and methodologies, and examples of application within the context of the built environment.